The Art of Falling
Hitting the trails for a run can be a beautiful way to spend the morning. The dirt underneath your feet, the trees waving overhead as you pass by, the fresh smells of nature in the air. Trail running however isn’t always euphoric.
There comes a time in everyone’s trail & road running life where you are bound to hit the ground from tripping. You might fall hard. It will be frightening, and yes, there might even be blood. How do I know? Perhaps I have fallen just as many times as I have lost toenails if not more, and maybe, just maybe, I have more scars than I have scarves. And, that’s saying a lot!
You would think with all of the falling I have done, I would be an expert on the subject. But sadly, I still have yet to master the art of tumbling. I did manage to gain some insight on how to fall gracefully though.
• Keep your elbows bent and use your hands as shock absorbers. The closer your arms are to the body, the better. Arms that are extended can cause serious injuries like broken wrists.
• If on smoother terrain, try to roll. – I have actually seen runners who fall, roll and are back in a standing position all within a blink of the eye. I only wish I could be this coordinated!
• Not able to roll, try to at least fall on your bum. While not ideal, the bum can endure far more than the head can.
Falling can be not only painful and emotional, but at times embarrassing. It is comforting to know that everyone eats it! Yes, even famous running icons! Dean Karnazes took a pretty bad stumble when running the Leadville 100 miler that caused him to (GASP) DNF. Meb Keflezighi took a spill and busted his knee training for the New York City Marathon last year. During the race, he had to stop and walk due to the pain. He finished 23rd.
No matter how cautious you are of your surroundings, or how high you pick up your feet, falling is inevitable. While it has happened to me, I have had no broken bones, (knock on wood) and was able to pick myself up, dust off, and stride happily ever after into the sunset….With a few battle wounds to prove it!